Are you a resident of Georgia and wondering how estate planning works?
Well, first of all, you do not have to be filthy rich in order to indulge in estate planning. This niche includes all your assets, and they may come in any size (financially). That said, this post will give you a comprehensive insight into the basics of Georgia estate planning.
So, let us dive right in.
What is an Estate Planning
Estate planning involves designating the beneficiaries of your assets, and who will handle the responsibilities of what you own upon your incapacitation and death. The core aim is to ensure that the beneficiaries receive your assets while minimizing any cuts due to gift tax, estate tax, income, and other forms of state or federal taxes.
Estate planning also allows you to establish a platform to fine-tune your financial wills and last testaments as your personal and/or financial satiation changes.
That said; let us look into the basic steps for estate planning in Georgia.
8 Steps of Estate Planning in Georgia
Simply follow these eight basic steps for successful estate planning in Georgia.
Step #1. Knowing Your Family Needs
After knowing the exact value of your estate, it is time to ensure that all your family is financially secure once you are gone. For example, if you have a child with special needs or who may need a college tuition fee in the future, life insurance can help.
Do not forget to name a backup guardian for your child in case something happens to you. This will also help your loved ones avoid any legal court fights and drain the assets you leave behind. Document all your financial wishes for your loved ones’ care.
Step #2. Organizing What You Own
The first step is to know what you own and start organizing your intangible and tangible assets. The tangible assets include land, home, any other real estate, cars, boats, collectibles, and personal possessions.
On the other hand, intangible assets include certificates of deposits, saving and checking accounts, stocks, mutual funds, bonds, life insurance policies, IRA, health saving accounts, and any businesses you own.
Step #3. Estimating Their Value
Once you have a complete list of your assets, it is time to get an evaluation to estimate their value. For example, you must get your home appraised and collect statements of all your financial accounts. This can help you distribute all your possessions equally to all your heirs.
Step #4. Ensuring that the Beneficiaries Get the Right Stuff
Go through all your insurance and retirement accounts and make sure that you have nominated all the beneficiaries. This is important if you want the right people to get what they deserve. Do not leave any beneficiary section empty otherwise, in case your case goes to probate; the court will distribute all assets as per state rules.
Do not forget to name contingent beneficiaries in case your primary beneficiaries die.
Step #5. Establishing Your Legal Directives
You can create a living trust and still designate certain parts of your estate to contribute towards things that matter while you are alive. Upon your incapacitation or death, the trust will transfer these assets to the beneficiaries. This way, you can bypass probate, which is a legal procedure by the court to distribute your property.
You can even create a living will, also known as the medical-care directive. This allows you to spell out your decision for medical care in case you unable to make decisions for yourself in the future. You can even assign a power of attorney to a person who can execute your will as per the medical care directive.
You can also create a power of attorney for someone to manage your financial affairs when you no longer are medically unfit to do so. This person acts on your behalf in financial and legal situations and even pays your taxes and bills while managing your assets.
That said, think carefully and cautiously before giving someone power of attorney. After all, you will literally leave all you own in their hands. You can also nominate different people for medical and financial representation. Moreover, you can also assign a backup person in case the primary nominated person is not available for whatever reasons
Step #6. Reassessing Helps
If your personal or financial circumstances change, it is always a good idea to reassess your estate planning. These circumstances include getting married, divorced, having a child, losing a loved one, and finding or losing a job.
Even if your circumstances remain unchanged, revisiting your estate planning regularly may allow you to rethink some of your past decisions and make amends.
Step #7. Knowing State of Georgia’s Tax Laws
Estate planning allows you to minimize your inheritance and other taxes. However, you need to have a very large estate for the estate taxes to apply on a federal level. In 2021, any estate taxes apply to the estate with value exceeding $11.7 million.
Step #8. Hiring Professional Help Always Pays Off
Estate planning in Georgia is a complicated affair; hence you must hire an estate planning attorney. They can help you create an estate plan while staying compliant with all State of Georgia laws.
In case you have a small estate with simple wishes, you can even get an online estate planning attorney or professional for will-writing as a sufficient measure. This type of program usually accounts for state-specific requirements and IRS.
The estate planning attorney will help you write a will by collecting extensive details about your finances, personal life, and endowments. You can also ask them to update a homemade will if need be.
Hire an Expert with Scriber Law Group
To consult an estate planning professional should always be your first step, especially if you are unsure where to begin. This is even more important if you have larger, more complex estate affairs. These may include children with special needs, business affairs, non-family heirs, etc.
Hire an estate planning attorney in Georgia with extensive experience from Scriber Law Group. Not only will they listen to all your needs but give you unbiased advice on comprehensive estate planning in Georgia.